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What do taxpayers think of Mahoning County government?

By Bertram de Souza (Contact)

Published November 15, 2009

A public opinion survey of Mahoning County residents is not only timely, but is necessary — to let commissioners and others in government know what the taxpayers think about them.

Refusal to support such a survey would be interpreted as commissioners David Ludt, Anthony Traficanti and John McNally being afraid to hear the truth. If the trio hopes to sell voters on the idea that renewing the half-percent sales tax in May is essential to the county’s financial well-being, they must be willing to stick their necks out.

The public poll is being pushed by county Democratic Party Chairman David Betras, who discussed it with Traficanti and Administrator George Tablack several days after voters on Nov. 3 refused to renew the sales tax.  Betras told the officials the party would be willing to split the cost with them. However, their reaction was less than enthusiastic.

Betras has since talked to the Regional Chamber’s vice president of government affairs, Tony Paglia, to see whether his organization would be interested in participating in this important endeavor.

It would be a grave mistake for the commissioners and Tablack to believe that the sales tax renewal failed because voters were confused by the word “additional” in the text of the ballot issue and the absence of the word “renewal.” There’s more going on, including an anti-government attitude shared by many taxpayers.

There is nothing to lose with a public opinion survey, and everything to be gained. The commissioners should get out of their comfort zone and talk to the people.


1UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

The county government and commissioners spend like drunken sailors. They have no regard for the taxpayer who is struggling to pay their bills. This is a good wakeup call and chance for them to practice frugalism. No extension of the 1/2% sales tax in the county is the best thing that could happen to them.

Learn to live on less like those of us in the private sector have learned how to do. Layoff all those non-productive friends and family on the county payroll who do nothing but collect a paycheck. Cut the pay and benefits paid to those left. It's time to take control of the county budget.

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2Tugboat(759 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

The question should be - What do taxpayers think of government overall?

Let's look at a typical fragment of government, the Transportation Review Advisory Council. TRAC is the panel in Ohio that chooses major new transportation projects. It approved the recently completed widening of 224 in Boardman which included all those ADA mandated and universally designed pedestrian curb cuts that lead to nowhere, literal 'concrete' monuments to the state of government these days. It is no wonder why there is an anti-government attitude shared by many taxpayers when they see this type of waste. Go take a slow drive(but not too slow) on 224 between South Ave. and Southern Blvd. and see what I mean.

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3wastepro(47 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

County Government is bloated and ineffective. The County Commissioners and Tablack sure are less than enthusiastic about the survey, that do not want to face the fact that they have too many employees with a benefit package that is very costly. Maybe its time that Tablack goes, he is a hinderance to progress. Let's see who they put in the County Sanitary Engineers office to replace Joe Warino

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4SickofJimbo(140 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

There is no way the tax will pass. It will lose by a bigger margin. Guaranteed.

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5apollo(1227 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

I just love it when Tugboat speaks of government waste and inefficiency when he is a benefactor of the taxpayer supplied early retirement, pensions, and health care! At least those curb cuts might benefit a wheel chair bound pedestrian!

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6Tugboat(759 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Yo, Apollo, if you can show that something I did as a 'benefactor of the taxpayer supplied early retirement, pensions, and health care' was illegal, immoral or unethical I suggest you request an investigation.

And you wrote, "At least those curb cuts might benefit a wheel chair bound pedestrian!"

Wheel chair bound pedestrian?

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7theword(342 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Vote no on the sales tax!!

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8apollo(1227 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Oh Tugboat, the largess you received from the taxpayers is indeed immoral. You've sucked from the public trough from people who can only wish they had the wages and benefits that you and your union brethren got. So much so that Boardman is now bankrupt or soon will be. If you want to see how greedy these people were look here:


Check out those salaries taxpayers. Then top it off with retiring at 50 with full or nearly full health care and pensions. Not to mention those going away payments for accumulated sick and vacation time that even Tug said is SPIKED to the $100,000 level. Guess who is going to be paying for the 30-40 years of retirement?

Yes, Tug, people in wheel chairs are considered pedestrians! At least they can now get around Boardman!

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9JeffLebowski(953 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

A somewhat loaded question, no?

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10apollo(1227 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Loaded yes. Of course it's the taxpayers. We'll be working until we croak to support the public sector workers retiring at 50. Either that or the public sector wages and benefits are going to change dramatically. Which do you think will happen?

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11Tugboat(759 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Apollo, you act as if you receive no services for whatever taxes you pay. Wages and benefits will most certainly change.

Regarding the 'wheel chair bound pedestrians,' please provide us some photos of some making their rounds in Boardman along 224. Without connecting sidewalks, the curb cuts are a waste and YOU, Mr. Watchdog, should be raising h*ll over it!

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12apollo(1227 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

I receive very limited township services my friend. We need safety services but not at the idiotic wages and benefits we have permitted them to extort from past trustees and drunk administrators who didn't do their jobs as advocates for the taxpayers. $122,000 for a cop?? Really! Average of over $85,000 a year? Senior cops getting 38 vacation days and 11 holidays? 4 hours for court appearances that take an hour tops. Take home cars for almost 30. Health care the envy of the working world? Pensions that most taxpayers don't even have? Retire at 50? The public sector has bankrupted the governments.

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13apollo(1227 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

Tug, change is indeed coming. The taxpayers are going to be rather ticked off when jobs don't come back and their wages and benefits are shrinking and yet the public workers think they are immune. States are bankrupt. Cities are bankrupt. The country is bankrupt. Townships are bankrupt. Taxpayers are tapped out. Yes, change is coming and you and your buddies aren't going to like it.

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14candystriper(575 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

look for a 40% tax on public employee health care benefits..

...figure it this way...

...the portion the county pays toward your benefit is gone...


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15Tugboat(759 comments)posted 5 years, 9 months ago

So, I guess it's farewell to all that love that came after 9/11.

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